Cristina is committed to helping her clients develop their natural skills and strengths in order to make meaningful changes in their life. She practices from a trauma-informed perspective and brings empathetic, strengths-based approaches to promote healing. She has used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Exposure Therapy, Ego-State Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) when appropriate. Cristina tailors therapy to the needs of each individual, family, or couple. She provides a welcoming environment to aid anyone trying to achieve the best version of themselves.
She has extensive experience providing treatment for substance use and prevention. Not only has she worked closely with military families, but she is also a part of this very special community. Cristina has provided counseling and group therapy services for individuals struggling with addiction, those who are dual-diagnosed, and the families of those who were impacted by the disease. She has also provided psychoeducational classes to help individuals gain further insight into their mental health and to assist individuals in formulating healthy coping skills. In addition to being a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor, Cristina has experience providing treatment to adolescents, adults, couples, and families in a variety of settings. Cristina has worked with individuals, families, and couples, and has addressed issues of depression, anxiety, grief, and trauma. Therapy can be provided in either English or Spanish since she is also bilingual.
Cristina is originally from Chicago, Illinois, and moved to the state of Virginia where she began her career working with children and families. She then relocated to Hawaii where she attended graduate school and received her Master of Social Work from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2016.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family outdoors. She and her family love being in the water, so they spend a lot of time at the beach. Cristina also loves trying new foods so makes it a point to try new restaurants.
Key Concepts: trauma-informed perspective, strengths-based approach, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Exposure Therapy, Ego-State Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), substance use and prevention, military families, counseling, group therapy, addiction, dual-diagnosed, psychoeducational classes, mental health, healthy coping skills, Certified Substance Abuse Counselor, adolescents, adults, couples, families, individuals, depression, anxiety, grief, trauma.
o Trauma-Informed Perspective: an approach to therapy that recognizes the complexities involved in a traumatic experience and the aftermath of said experience. This understanding is taken into consideration when processing the behaviors and thought processes of the individual, and is meant to acknowledge and support the many different impacts trauma can have.
o Strengths-Based Approach: a type of therapy that places a focus on the client’s strengths, rather than weaknesses. By reformulating stories of events and situations the client has experienced in the past in a positive light, this approach allows for a mindset change that focuses on the strength, power, and resilience the individual has. Strengths-based therapy may be used for individuals with self-esteem struggles or those with mental health problems that may be helped by practicing a positive mindset.
o Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): a type of psychotherapy (talk therapy) that has a solution-oriented approach and aims to help process patient struggles from both a cognitive and behavioral perspective. The goal of CBT is to address negative thoughts (cognitive) or behaviors (behavioral) that are causing distress and focus on encouraging practical steps toward solving the problem at hand while tackling the anxiety that it may be causing. The basis of CBT rests on the idea that thoughts and feelings are what influence behaviors.
o Motivational Interviewing: a type of therapy that encourages motivation in the individual to commit to behavioral changes that may improve physical or mental health. It is often used with clients who are hesitant to make such changes and involves the process of increasing motivation to make changes as well as committing to them. Therapists do not give advice or force changes onto the individual unless ideas are requested by the client.
o Exposure Therapy: a type of therapy that exposes fearful objects or situations to a client in a safe way in order to help the individual overcome something fearful. This exposure can be in the form of imagining the fearful object or situation or physically encountering it.
o Ego-State Therapy: a type of therapy that focuses on addressing the many different egos, or roles/identities that we hold within ourselves. Ego-state therapy aims to recognize these different egos and navigate them within the whole individual.
o Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): a type of psychotherapy (talk therapy) similar to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that is centered on mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. The goal is to reduce emotional distress and relationship struggles.